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The 2014 IBI Awards: Most Valuable Reliever

Allen, Atchison headline the voting for best reliever

The 2014 IBI Awards: Most Valuable Reliever
Cody Allen (Photo: Wahoo's on First)
October 10, 2014
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Welcome to the third annual edition of the IBI Awards!

At the end of every year, we here at IBI vote on various categories relating to Cleveland baseball as we continue looking back on 2014 ahead of our 2015 offseason coverage.

Today is the fifth installment of the IBI Awards, the Most Valuable Reliever.

Previous awards for this season include:

As seen in the voting for Most Valuable Pitcher -- where four of the top-five spots belonged to starting pitchers -- relievers often fall behind starters when the two are compared. It is hard to accumulate more value in 70.0 innings than 200.0 innings, so to compensate for that, we have this award to focus on those pitchers who hang out in the bullpen.

Given he finished in third place among all pitchers, it should not come as a surprise who topped the Most Valuable Reliever voting.

Rank

Name

Points

1

Cody Allen

52

2

Scott Atchison

37

3

Bryan Shaw

24

4

Marc Rzepczynski

21

5

Kyle Crockett

17

6

Nick Hagadone

2

T-7

C.C. Lee

1

T-7

Carlos Carrasco

1

Also unsurprisingly given those vote totals, the five relievers I voted for matched the five at the top of the list. In fact, my votes came in the same order as the overall voting. But while my votes came up chalk, that clearly was not the case for everyone.

Here is what the rest of IBI had to say:

Tony Lastoria:

  1. Allen
  2. Shaw
  3. Rzepczynski
  4. Atchison
  5. Crockett

This listing should be of no surprise as the top four guys all made at least 70 appearances and were near the top of the league in appearances. Allen no doubt is the best pitcher in the bullpen and did a nice job sliding into the closer’s role when John Axford lost the job in May. I still think his value is better as a seventh and eighth inning option where he can be used more often in high leverage situations, but for now he is the team’s closer going forward. Shaw pitched well and slid naturally into a regular eighth inning setup role, Rzepczynski was a lock down lefty setup man, Atchison came out of nowhere to find a home in the Indians pen and Crockett emerged as a very good second left-handed option.

Hayden Grove:

  1. Allen
  2. Atchison
  3. Crockett
  4. Rzepczynski
  5. Carrasco

While we all know that John Axford was the Indians least valuable reliever, he also paved the way for the most valuable reliever to stake his claim. Cody Allen proved himself to be a very effective closer and hopefully, barring any injuries from his overuse by Terry Francona, will be the Indians’ very effective closer for a very long time. Allen always seemed to have the makeup of a potential closer and this season only proved that furthermore.

Jake Dungan:

  1. Allen
  2. Shaw
  3. Atchison
  4. Rzepczynski
  5. Crockett

For the second straight season, Cody Allen stepped up big time to fill a key role in the bullpen. Last year, he stepped in for an ailing Vinnie Pestano as the setup man. This season, after new closer John Axford proved to be ineffective, Allen became the new closer and excelled once again. His rapid ascent from a college pitcher to a big league closer has been one of the more remarkable developments over the last few seasons.

John Vourlis:

  1. Atchison
  2. Allen
  3. Shaw
  4. Rzepczynski
  5. Hagadone

If the Tribe ever changes its name and logo, calling them the Cleveland Grays in honor of Atchison would be fine with this old school fan.

Tyler Stotsky:

  1. Allen
  2. Atchison
  3. Rzepczynski
  4. Crockett
  5. Shaw

When the John Axford experiment came to an end, Terry Francona was looking for a closer in the bullpen. Tito tried a closer-by-committee first but when Allen was given the chance, he took it and ran with it. Allen did a tremendous job in the closer’s role this season.

Spencer Davies:

  1. Atchison
  2. Allen
  3. Crockett
  4. Rzepczynski
  5. Shaw

The entire bullpen was purely dominant this season. At the end of the season the staff’s fatigue grew more and more, leading to their eventual expected demise. I pick Scott Atchison as the team’s most valuable reliever due to the fact that the man had possibly the best season of his career. The 38-year-old not only pitched in the third-most games on the team and the second-most innings out of the bullpen, but also was dynamite in critical situations, finished 11 games and went 6-0.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

C L Who
October 11, 2014 - 3:12 AM EDT
Neither Crockett nor Scrabble were effective against RHP this year. The only two pen pitchers handling any kind of batter equally well were Atch and Hagadone (amazingly!).
sufferfortribe
October 10, 2014 - 6:53 PM EDT
With the emergence of Cody Allen, we are pretty well set at closer. My only gripe is that TF didn't take full advantage of Kyle Crockett. He is more than just a situational pitcher.
Norm
October 10, 2014 - 5:43 PM EDT
I can envision circumstances where Mac is starting and Salazar is in the pen to start next year. I was quite impressed with the way Mac was throwing when he came back from Columbus. I do not think his ceiling is as high as Carrasco but it looks to me like he slots in as a 3-4 innings eater if he is healthy. Whether Salazar moves to closer, I cannot say but I have to think Scrabble will be dealt rather than Avila.
C L Who
October 10, 2014 - 3:38 PM EDT
I wouldn't mind seeing Allen set up and Salazar close......if only there was another starter for the rotation around.
pathofkindness
October 10, 2014 - 2:38 PM EDT
Spencer, what are you smoking man?

Atchison was very good at times, and at times not so good, but the fact that he had the "best season of his career" has nothing to do with being the Tribe's "most valuable reliever." That said, he certainly was an unexpectedly critical and valuable member of the pen...

Also, to say that the "entire bullpen was purely dominant this season" is simply not true...do you think about what you are writing?

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